|Publication number||US7969626 B2|
|Application number||US 12/153,863|
|Publication date||28 Jun 2011|
|Filing date||27 May 2008|
|Priority date||29 Nov 2005|
|Also published as||DE602005022237D1, EP1961207A1, EP1961207B1, US20080247008, WO2007062679A1|
|Publication number||12153863, 153863, US 7969626 B2, US 7969626B2, US-B2-7969626, US7969626 B2, US7969626B2|
|Inventors||Cornelis Bartholomeus Maria Van Mil, Jacobus Hubertus Theodoor Jamar, Robertus Johannes Adam Gorter|
|Original Assignee||Oce-Technologies B.V.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (37), Referenced by (2), Classifications (9), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a Continuation of International Application No. PCT/EP2005/012882, and claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §120, the entirety of which is expressly incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a scanner and a method of scanning an image on an original, wherein an optical sensor having sensor elements for each of three basic colors is used to generate pixel values of the scanned image, each pixel value representing an optical density of a pixel of the image. Thus, a monochrome, i.e. a grey scale or black and white (B/W) image of the original is obtained using a color scanner.
2. Description of Background Art
In reduction type scanners, an optical sensor with one or more linear CCD (charge coupled device) arrays and a lens are arranged to focus lines of an original onto the CCD line arrays. The scanner usually has one light source emitting white light.
In a color scanner, for example, there are at least three CCD line arrays having color filters for red, green, and blue light, respectively, thus forming sensor elements for the basic colors of red, green, and blue light. Typically, the sensor elements for different colors have different light sensitivities. When a grey scale image is to be obtained from a color original, the original is scanned, and the signals from the sensor elements for red, green, and blue light are mathematically mixed in order to calculate the grey intensity from the RGB values of each pixel of the image. Hence, the grey level of a pixel is a weighted average of the RGB levels, wherein the weight factors are defined such that the hue and saturation information is eliminated. This will be called the conventional scan mode in the following.
The scan speed of a reduction type scanner is limited by the maximal clock speed of the CCD. This is a profound limitation in view of a demand for high scan resolutions. In order to obtain a higher scan speed, it is known to additionally provide a panchromatic sensor element for B/W data. Thus, the grey intensity of a color original can be scanned using only the panchromatic sensor element. However, providing an extra panchromatic sensor element is costly.
Moreover, a B/W original could be read using only a single sensor element of a color sensor, e.g. the sensor element for green light, when the sensor element for green light has the highest sensitivity.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,923,447 discloses a method of reading a color original to obtain a B/W image using at least two of the R, G, and B light receiving elements of an optical sensor. A B/W image could not be received by using only the sensor element for, e.g. green light, because a green part of the original would then be recognized as white. By using adding means to add the signals output from the at least two of the R, G, and B light receiving elements for each pixel, a black-white judging means is enabled to correctly judge, based on the added result, whether the pixel is to be represented as black or white. However, this method is not applicable when a grey scale image is to be obtained from a color original.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a scanner and a method of scanning wherein a grey scale or B/W image can be obtained from a grey scale or B/W original and/or from a color original with high speed.
According to the present invention, this object is achieved by a method as described above wherein each pixel value is generated mainly on the basis of a signal of only one of the sensor elements, and each of the sensor elements for each of the basic colors is used to generate pixel values representing substantially different parts of the image. Furthermore, this object is achieved by a scanner adapted to operate according to the method described. For example, the basic colors are red, green, and blue.
Thus, the amount of pixels to be scanned is divided among the sensor elements for the different basic colors. Thereby, the scan speed can be increased up to three times compared to the conventional scan mode, wherein each pixel of the original is scanned by three sensor elements. Thus, a color scanner can be used with a high scan speed when only a grey scale or B/W image is needed.
For example, the sensor elements are arranged in parallel at slightly different positions along a transport direction, i.e. a direction of relative movement of the original and the optical sensor, so that different lines of the original are each focused on different sensor elements. For example, the timing of the scanning and the arrangement of the sensor elements is such that each line of the original is mainly scanned only by sensor elements for either red, green, or blue light.
Preferably, sensor elements for all of the basic colors, e.g. red, green, and blue, operate simultaneously. For example, operation cycles of the sensor elements are synchronized such that pixels at three different positions along a scan direction are simultaneously read by the sensor elements for each of three basic colors.
Preferably, during a relative movement of the original and the optical sensor, each pixel of the image is successively imaged onto the sensor elements for each of the basic colors, and sample timings of the sensor elements are controlled such that the sensor elements are mainly sensitive to different pixels. Thus, for each scanned pixel, the pixel value generated is mainly based on the signal of only one of the sensor elements.
In the examples given below, the basic colors are red, green, and blue, and a pixel of the image which has a pixel value that is based mainly on a sensor element for red light will be called a “red” pixel, although the pixel values indicate only a grey scale value. The terms “green” pixels and “blue” pixels will be used analogously.
Preferably, “red”, “green”, and “blue” pixels are arranged in an interleaved pattern. One example of an interleaved pattern could be symbolized as “RGBRGBRGB . . . ”.
In one embodiment, the signals of the sensor elements are corrected by factors accounting for different light sensitivities of the sensor elements for the different basic colors. For example, when a homogeneously white area of the original is scanned, the signal from the sensor element for blue light may differ from the signal from the sensor element for green light. By correcting the signals, consistent pixel values are achieved.
Thus, when a non-color original, i.e. a grey scale or B/W original is scanned, the factors are adjusted such that a uniformly grey area of the original gives the same pixel values for pixels that are scanned by the different sensor elements. Thereby, a pixel of the original has to be scanned by only one of the sensor elements to obtain a density value. Because at least three sensor elements for the three basic colors may be used simultaneously, the scan speed may be up to three times as high as in a conventional B/W scan mode, wherein each pixel is read by three sensor elements, e.g. three line arrays of CCDs.
The method of correcting the signals of the sensor elements by factors accounting for different light sensitivities of the sensor elements in general does not lead to satisfying results in the case of color originals. For example, artefacts result from the fact that the pixel values generated by the different sensor elements for each of three basic colors do not only depend on the optical density level of the scanned pixels, but also on the different colors. For example, when one of the basic colors is blue and a uniformly blue original is scanned, the sensor elements for blue light will give signals corresponding to a certain grey scale value of the pixels whereas the sensor elements for, for example, red and green light would recognize the pixels as being almost black. When the sensor elements and the operation cycles of the sensor elements are arranged such that there is an interleaved pattern of “red”, “green”, and “blue” pixels in the image which is repeated along a scan direction with a certain repeat length, the artefacts show a spatial frequency that corresponds to the repeat length.
According to a further development of the present invention, the mentioned problem of frequency artefacts is solved by correcting the pixel values by a mathematical filter. When the sensor elements and the operation cycles of the sensor elements are arranged such that there is an interleaved pattern of “red”, “green”, and “blue” pixels in the image that is repeated along a scan direction, a filter removes artefacts having a spatial frequency of ⅓ the pixel frequency in the scan direction.
Preferably, the pixels to be detected by different sensor elements are interleaved with a minimal repeat length along a scan direction, and the filter is adapted to reduce the occurrence of a spatial frequency in the image corresponding to the repeat length. In other words, for each pixel of the image there is assigned a sensor element, the signal of which the pixel value of the pixel is mainly based on (i.e. there are “red”, “green”, and “blue” pixels), and the sensor element assignments are repeated with a minimal repeat length along a scan direction of the image (i.e., “red”, “green”, and “blue” pixels are arranged in a regular pattern with a pattern repeat length in the scan direction), and the filter is adapted to reduce an occurrence of a spatial frequency in the image corresponding to said repeat length and scan direction.
The scan direction is, for example, the transport direction or, alternatively, a line direction that is perpendicular to the transport direction.
Thereby, frequency artefacts in the scan direction are corrected. In the same manner, frequency artefacts in more than one direction may be corrected by filters. The correction of frequency artefacts for two different directions may be performed by a two-dimensional filter. For example, when a high line resolution of a scanner is achieved by arranging for each of the three basic colors one CCD line array for odd pixels and one CCD line array for even pixels within a line of the image perpendicular to the transport direction or sub scan direction, artefacts with a spatial frequency of ˝ the pixel frequency along the line direction are suppressed by the filter.
The required amount of suppression at the artefact frequencies depends on the required number of grey levels that should be distinguished and also on the color richness and/or variation of the color original.
According to a further development of the method, the described mathematical filter is used to correct the pixel values depending on a degree of an occurrence of a spatial frequency in the image corresponding to said repeat length and scan direction. For example, the scanning method comprises a step of deciding on the basis of a degree of an occurrence of a spatial frequency in the image corresponding to said repeat length whether or not the filter is used.
Thus, the method provides an adaptive compensation of the frequency artefacts. In the case of a color original, a comparatively high degree of frequency artefacts will be present in the image, so that the mathematical filter is used to suppress these frequency artefacts. In the case of a grey scale or B/W original, a comparatively low level of frequency artefacts will be present in the image. Thus, less or even no filtering is required. In other words, filter parameters may be varied depending on a degree of an occurrence of a spatial frequency in the image corresponding to a pattern repeat length, or it may be decided depending on the degree of the occurrence of the spatial frequency whether the filter will be used or not. Thereby, the filtering is adjusted automatically by recognizing if the original is a color original or a grey scale or B/W original. Thus, a user of a scanner does not have to indicate whether the original is a color original or not.
Alternatively, the same filter may be used for color originals and B/W originals, since in the case of a non-color original, the filter has only a small effect on the scanned image.
Because, according to the present invention, the scan speed may be as high as three times the conventional scan speed, each sensor element passes over up to three pixels during one operation cycle of the sensor element. Therefore, a certain movement unsharpness (blur) may occur.
According to a preferred embodiment of the scanner of the present invention, the sensor elements operate in periodic operation cycles and the scanner further comprises a mechanism for limiting a light integration time of the sensor elements within each operation cycle of the sensor elements to approximately a time of not more than two thirds of the operation cycle time. Preferably, the light integration is limited to a time that corresponds to approximately the size of a pixel in the direction of relative movement of the original and the optical sensor. Thereby, the movement unsharpness can be reduced.
Further scope of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.
The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinbelow and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:
The present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein the same reference numerals have been used to identify the same or similar elements throughout the several views.
Because the DCMs 48 are used to generate the clock signals 46, the base clock signal 50 may have the same frequency as the clock signals 46. In conventional optical sensors using CCDs, the clock signals are usually generated using a higher base frequency that is converted by counters and dividers to generate the different clock frequencies at the needed phase relations. This leads to problems in high-speed scanning because of the extremely high base frequencies that would be required. Moreover, problems of stability and reproducibility of the clock signals arise. The use of digital clock managers according to the present invention has the advantages that the needed phase relations can be achieved without needing a higher base frequency, and that the high stability and reproducibility of the clock signals is achieved by providing a feed back signal from the drive buffers of the CCDs to the DCMs. For example, the DCMs 48 may be included in field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) which are produced, for example, by Xilinx, Inc. and which are described in U.S. Application Publication No. 2003/0062922 A1.
Of course, the described configuration for generating clock signals may be applied in any device that uses CCD technology.
As shown in
The scanning procedure will now be described in conjunction with
The operation cycles of the CCDs are synchronized. In a first clock period, the sensor element B passes over the image lines 1 to 3, the sensor element G passes over the pixel lines 6 to 8, and the sensor element R passes over the image lines 11 to 13. By providing the appropriate clock signals to the CCDs of the optical sensor 44, the light integration time of the sensor elements within each operation cycle is limited to approximately one third of the cycle period. The integration or sample periods are timed such that the sensor element B is mainly sensitive to pixels in line 2. This is indicated by a “B” at the position of pixel 2 in
During the second clock period, the sensor elements R, G, B pass over the image lines 14 to 16, 9 to 11, and 4 to 6, respectively, and pixels of lines 5, 10, and 15 are read as indicated in
Each pixel is thus read by only one of the sensor elements R, G, B. Therefore, the scan speed may be up to three times the conventional scan speed. For example, the pixel value of pixel 12 is based on the signal of the sensor element R, the pixel value of the pixel 13 is based on a signal of the sensor element G, and the pixel value of the pixel 14 is based on the signal of the sensor element B. In the following, the pixels and the pixel values will be called “R” pixels, “G” pixels and “B” pixels, depending on the sensor element which has read them. As can be seen in the right half of
A method of processing the pixel values will now be described with reference to
In a first step S1 (
These artefacts are recognized in step S3. The artefact recognition is, for example, based on the output of a mathematical filter that is sensitive to a spatial frequency corresponding to the repeat length L in the scan direction A of the image.
As can be seen in
By correcting the pixel values using the mathematical filter, a grey scale image is obtained in step S5 the pixel values of which are indicated as dashed lines in
When in step S3 it is decided that frequency artefacts are not present, a grey scale image is obtained without using the filter. Thereby, grey scale originals can be scanned with the highest possible resolution.
Alternatively, as indicated by dashed lines in
As an alternative to the method shown in
As an alternative to the described method, a light integration time of the sensor element within each operation cycle may be reduced by providing a shutter 74 indicated in dashed lines in
When, depending on the number and arrangement of CCD line arrays of the optical sensor, artefacts also appear within a line of the image, i.e., perpendicular to the rows shown in
According to the invention, it is possible to scan both grey scale originals as well as colored originals at high speed with a singe optical sensor having sensor elements for three basic colors and without prior knowledge of the type of the original.
Instead of increasing the scan speed to three times the conventional scan speed, the scan speed could be increased to a medium level while at the same time the resolution along the transport direction is also increased. Thereby, because of the higher resolution, an unsharpness effect of the filtering and, if present at all, a movement unsharpness is reduced as compared to the described example, while the overall scan time is still reduced compared to scanning with the conventional scan speed. Furthermore, instead of increasing the scan speed, the scan resolution could be increased to up to three times the scan resolution of a conventional scan mode.
The invention being thus described, it will be obvious that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, and all such modifications as would be obvious to one skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||358/505, 358/512, 382/162|
|International Classification||G06K9/00, H04N1/46|
|Cooperative Classification||H04N1/40012, H04N1/486|
|European Classification||H04N1/40B, H04N1/48C|
|23 Jun 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: OCE-TECHNOLOGIES B.V., NETHERLANDS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:VAN MIL, CORNELIS BARTHOLOMEUS MARIA;JAMAR, JACOBUS HUBERTUS THEODOOR;GORTER, ROBERTUS JOHANNS ADAM;REEL/FRAME:021136/0579;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080521 TO 20080616
|19 Dec 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4